Tapio Wirkkala at Venini

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Exhibition catalogue edited by Marino Barovier and Carla Sonego

Among the most important protagonists of Finnish glassmaking, Tapio Wirkkala (1915–1985) came to Murano in 1965 having been asked to collaborate with the Venini glassworks by its young director, the architect Ludovico de Santillana. Particularly interested in Venetian glass and in its processing techniques that allowed expressive capabilities completely different to those of the Nordic crystal, Wirkkala approached his Murano experience enthusiastically, being able also to rely on the ability of the master glassworkers with whom he managed to establish an extraordinary understanding.

This volume, the result of in-depth research based on partially unpublished material coming from the Venini historical archives and from the personal archives of the artist, illustrates the achievements of this association with a sequence of about two hundred models, accompanied by the corresponding drawings.

Present many times at Murano between the end of 1965 and 1970 and again in the early 1980s, Wirkkala, gradually gaining confidence both with the filigrana technique and with the ‘discovery’ of colour, often used the incalmo technique to create polychrome artefacts in transparent glass which achieved notable commercial success.